Three car-parking spaces in the Cornish resort of St Ives in south-west England have been sold at auction for a total of more than £160,000 (HK$1.98 million).
Two other spaces attracted bids of £50,000 each but failed to meet the reserve price. They are expected to be sold privately in the next few days.
Estate agent Bradleys was delighted with the sale but it has attracted criticism as an example of a property market favouring by outsiders. Councillors and residents point out that with the average annual Cornish salary at less than £25,000, many locals could not afford one of the parking spaces, let alone a house in St Ives.
There have also been complaints that the sale could push up the cost of parking in the town, where motorists already have to pay their Cornwall council more than £500 a year for a reserved spot.
Councillor Bert Biscoe said the sale was a symbol of a huge problem in the south-west and pointed out that when the town flooded a few years ago, firemen were unable to locate owners of some properties because so many were used as second homes.
He said: "Parking spaces at £50,000 is just another symptom of a folly driven by commerce and institutional board rooms while communities, families and one of Britain's most distinguished and attractive cultures teeters on the edge of extinction."
The parking spaces on Barnoon Terrace near the Tate St Ives gallery were being sold by a resident in the area who was using the money to refurbish a large house.
Chris Baxter, director of Bradleys, said: "We are talking about an area where property is happily fetching £500,000 to £700,000, if not more. If you haven't got a car-parking space, £50,000 is a small price to pay for that extra amenity."
They may be raising eyebrows in Britain, but the Cornish sales were cheap when compared with Hong Kong parking spots.
Developer Cheung Kong made headlines around the world over the weekend when it sold 514 parking bays at a Tai Wai development for between HK$980,000 and HK$1.3 million each. The prices are being seen by some as the latest indication of a speculative property price bubble.